Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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A Party for The Ages

 

 

48d0abb0dcdfd512c105c36e0cf67cae"Hey, Jay!" one of the other dads hollered at me from the other side of the ballpark as our sons were finishing up soccer practice. "Looking forward to the party!" I nodded, grinned and waved back at the guy trying not to look totally confused. "Party?" I thought. "What party?"   

 

Ten minutes later, I found out. Parked in my driveway was a truck. Two men were hauling a massive inflatable bouncing house into my backyard. Yes, we apparently were having a party. Robbie, our youngest, was turning seven. His buddies were coming to our house to celebrate. All of them.

 

Inviting 20 seven-year-old boys to a backyard birthday party is sheer lunacy. There are no carrot sticks on the menu, just pure sugar bombs. Add an arsenal of plastic weaponry and you've got an incendiary mix. You'd have less damage from a horde of Mongols.

 

Other parents - that is, the ones who value their homes - outsource these kinds of events. They rent an indestructible party palace for the afternoon. That's so the joint can be hosed down and, if necessary, rebuilt after the party. 

 

Whose idea was this wingding anyway? Diana, my wife, looked remarkably cheerful for someone about to be overrun by munchkins with inflatable pickaxes. "Jay," she insisted. "It'll be fun!"  

 

What actually happened was two hours of utter mayhem.  Like an invading force of troop carriers, SUVs pulled up in front of our house at precisely 4 p.m. Out spilled an army of howling kids. The party instantly devolved into a battle scene. Their parents stood at the perimeter - wine and beer in hand - watching in shock.

 

Robbie's older brother, Cade, had been enlisted as a kind of bouncer to keep the peace. At 15, he is six feet tall and 190 pounds, but he was no match for a swarm of seven-year-olds. They attacked and beat him into submission with their axes. I could hear muffled cries for help, but I wasn't about to risk the fury of the mob.

 

Considering the battlefield wounds, we probably should have had a MASH Unit. One boy ran up to his mom with blood running down his lip. "Mom," he said breathlessly. "Can you hold my tooth?" He dropped the tiny pearl into her hand and raced back into action.

  

When the party was over, I surveyed the yard and tallied the damage. They came, they ate, they conquered. One tooth was extracted. A lawn chair had been twisted into a pretzel. The flowerbeds were shredded. No casualties. All in all, according to Robbie, it was a pretty good party. Would have been better if Cade had suffered a little more, but overall -- pretty good.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Bargain Driver Puts Us to The Test

 

 

fist full of money clip art 22967Over the course of the week, she just about drove me crazy. She'd found an inlaid mahogany game table in our Hanover store that she thought would be perfect for her condo in Back Bay. The table was exquisite - and a bargain. Still, she wanted to haggle.

 

"Call the consignor!" she insisted after I demurred on a discount. "Ask them to drop the price by $30." Her offer was rejected. Undeterred, she pressed for $20 off - rejected again - then $10. In the middle of the negotiating ping-pong, I found myself wondering: is she seriously going to ask for a discount of $1?   

 

Finally, with a sigh, she agreed to the price. Then, she got a second wind. She'd observed a tiny scratch no bigger than a hair on one leg. Could we touch it up? And then buff the piece with furniture polish? Swaddle it carefully in bubble wrap? And have it ready for pick up in an hour?

 

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we pride ourselves on extraordinary furniture, unbeatable prices and excellent customers service. Every now and then, someone comes along and puts us to the test. That's what happened last week. And I'm pleased to say we passed with flying colors.

 

Precisely an hour after her call, a car peeled into the parking lot. Out leaped the woman's husband, looking a little sheepish. As one of our staffers carried the table carefully to the car, he approached me cautiously. "How bad did she beat you up on the price?" he asked.      

 

I burst out laughing. "We couldn't do anything on the price," I admitted, "but we jumped through a dozen hoops to get it ready for you this afternoon." 

 

"She drives a hard bargain," he admitted. More like a blood sport, I thought. "But," he added in a confidential tone, "she really, really loves your store. Thanks for making her happy. We'll be back for more - you can count on it." 

 

Keeping even the toughest customers satisfied - and coming back again and again - is our goal at FCG. So stop by one of our three stores this weekend. Our furniture makes shopping here worth your while. Our dedicated staffers make it a great experience.
Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Spring Sales Have Sellers Moving Fast

 

 

husbandsShe exhaled a string of expletives into the phone. Thankfully, I wasn't the target. The culprit was her husband. With only one week to go before the family was moving into a grand new house, he'd called and scheduled my guys to strip the house of every stick of furniture.  

 

His plan was to sell just about everything at FCG, and redecorate in a style that trumpeted his recent success in the corporate world. He demanded we strip the place of furniture ASAP. The closing on the new house was in one week. His plan was timely, organized and efficient.

 

Trouble is, his plan lacked support on the domestic front.  His wife had a different plan. Hers was to fret, fume and procrastinate. She liked their old house, the old neighborhood - and the furniture. "Absolutely not," she said when I called to say our truck would be pulling into the driveway in an hour.

 

She hadn't packed a single box. Every dresser in the house was stuffed with clothing, she said. The wedding china was still on display in the cabinet in the dining room. Empty the house of furniture? "I'm just not ready!" she exclaimed. "Can't we reschedule?"

 

We were caught between husband and wife. And let me tell you, that is not a pleasant place to be. Especially when you're dealing with a high-testosterone husband and a wife skilled in guerrilla warfare.

 

Spring's busy moving season can be challenging - for our customers and for FCG. Our homes and furniture are loaded with meaning and memories.  Add an ounce of conflict to the stress of a move and the entire situation becomes highly combustible.   

 

At FCG, we try to be sensitive. We scrutinized our jam-packed schedule and managed to give the woman a few more days to pack. When we arrived, we moved quickly and quietly. We took it all, leaving only the mattresses on the floor. Our last item: the expensive leather chair from his home office. When we left, the two were in a state of shock.

 

After a few years of a listless real estate market, deals are moving faster than sellers can think. If you are ready to sell, consult with FCG as soon as you list your home. You may need us sooner than you think.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Kentucky Derby- Appreciating Martha On Race Day

 

 

muybridgeHarrodsburg, Kentucky is a sleepy town of about 9,000, except for certain times of year when the place is seized with a peculiar sports mania. That would be the winter college basketball season and the eve of the Kentucky Derby.

 

Some of the best gossip in town could be gotten at the Davis Beauty Shop. Martha Davis, the owner, was married to the basketball coach of Harrodsburg High School in Mercer County. He had a hotline to Coach Adolf Rupp of the University of Kentucky, one of the most successful coaches in the history of American college basketball.

 

So the women of the bluegrass would make their weekly pilgrimages to see Martha - with the full encouragement of their husbands. That's because the women would come home not only freshly coiffed but also fully stocked with hot tips for their husbands on horses and basketball.    

 

Now 95, Martha hasn't wielded a curling iron for a while now but she's still as elegant and indomitable as she was in her prime. Last year, she downsized and sold the classic belle of a mansion she and her husband, Coach Davis, had owned on Harrodsburg's Main Street.

 

Diana, my wife, was fortunate to get some of the beautiful furniture that graced her grandmother's home. So was Furniture Consignment Gallery. Martha entrusted us to sell some of her favorite pieces, among them an Empire chest and an antique pine rope bed.     

 

Selling furniture with a story - that's what makes the consignment business so much fun. Stop by one of our showrooms today. It's Derby Day. Martha, or as we know her, Nana sends her regards.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Ship Shape

 

 

House BoatEven on a big boat, space is tight. That makes furnishing the place a challenge, especially when you make the boat your full-time home. In fact, it is probably every bit as frustrating a puzzle as a Rubik's Cube.

 

Which explains the email I got earlier this week from a customer, whom I'll call the Captain. "Greetings, Jay," he wrote. "Get out your tape measure. Prepare to be ACCURATE - to the eighth of an inch or better. These measurements are crucial and will require eyeballs at floor level."

 

Apparently, the Captain had fallen in love with a beautiful walnut chest of drawers he'd found on our website He wanted to install it in his bedroom on the boat. The problem? The dresser was 25 inches wide - two inches wider than the aft door.

 

Living at sea, the Captain apparently has acquired a necessary ingenuity. "What is the height of the legs under the chest?" the Captain asked in his email. Perhaps, he mused, he could turn the dresser on its side and spiral it around the door frame. The legs, he warned, would have to be at least 2ΒΌ inches high to accomplish this feat.

 

Even by email, the Captain was a commanding presence. "Jay," he wrote, "remove the upper-most drawers from the dresser. Look inside and determine how the top of the dresser is attached. Is it by glue or by screw? I may be able to remove the top. Hence, it will easily clear the narrow door frame."

   

The Captain is one of my favorite customers even if he does make me feel like a bit of a swabbie. He loves fine furniture - and he really likes the bargains he finds at Furniture Consignment Gallery. He also knows he can rely on our associates to get down on the floor and get those measurements quickly and accurately - down to the sixteenth of an inch.

 

He's been shopping our website for years and we've had the honor of furnishing his sixty-foot, thirty-ton boat, which is moored in a slip in Los Angeles. Every couple of months, he finds a piece he loves and after has it shipped three thousand miles to the marina he calls home.

 

I'd like to meet the guy one of these days. I'd like a tour of his boat. Most of all, I'd like to find out how he managed to get a 25-inch wide dresser through a 23-inch wide door.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Your Choice: Landfill or Resale

 

 

IMG 5893Mysteriously, a giant pine tree fell in our yard last weekend, crushing sections of a new fence we'd installed only a year ago. We didn't hear or see anything in the night, but the backyard was a mess when we awoke on Easter Sunday.

So after church, instead of our traditional egg hunt, we got to work. Our three boys swung axes. I manned the chain saw. We cut the tree into pieces and hauled it away.

Winters are notoriously tough in New England, but spring with its driving rains and high winds can be just as hard. Mother Nature or some other malevolent force seems to take pleasure in unleashing a legion of gremlins just to test our capacity for misery.

It was a week of woe. After the tree episode, our icemaker went on strike. It was new. Thanks a lot, GE. You've ruined my much-anticipated end-of-week treat: bourbon over ice on a Friday night.

Next, our cable router died, leaving us without Internet - for three days. Ouch! The demons even followed me to work. Our trucks had so many ailments they needed a full-time mechanic.

Things break. That's just the way it goes. But I'm old enough now to realize that new things seem to break more often - and more completely - than the old ones. And most of the new things are made so shoddily they aren't worth repairing.

So beware when you hear about new furniture deals that seem too good to be true. Retailers are offering aggressive promotions this spring on furniture. Samples: "Only $5 a day" or "We'll pay your sales tax" or "If the Red Sox win the pennant, your furniture is free!"

Here's the reality. That furniture might not last any longer than the installment payments you'll be making. You'll get far better quality buying the consignment furniture in our showrooms.  

Even the quality pre-owned furniture that you buy from us today could be sold again tomorow. We have a nice Pompanoosuc Mills dining room set scheduled to arrive today that was bought from us five years ago.  Quality furniture will have resale value as long as the style stays in play. 

Feel free to disregard my advice. But I'll be happy to lend you a couple of axes and my chainsaw in a couple of years when you're hauling the cheap stuff off to the dump. 

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Dog Treats Unearthed

 

 

9752e5e2cd9f393bdaf5e18ef9ebb41eAs the massive glacier of snow and ice recedes from our lawn, a new treasure appears every day. Surprise! Here's a single ice skate that's been missing for months. Yesterday, I found the football the boys got for Christmas, along with a partially chewed pizza box, sans pizza. Roxie, our toddler boxer, is the culprit. She considers everything in our house - and our garbage - to be her personal chew toy. Our front lawn is a graveyard of well-masticated items lying, like bleached bones, in full view of the neighborhood.

 

Thanks to Mother Nature, we had no idea the full extent of our pup's destructive instincts. Snow after snow hid the evidence. Now, we're placing bets on what might appear next during the Big Melt. I am missing my grill light er. But it's not like I need it yet. I still can't find my grill under the avalanche of snow that slid off the roof.

 

We aren't the only ones cleaning up a lot of debris after a harsh winter. One of our neighbors in town discovered a deer carcass in a snow bank. At least we haven't had to bury anything at our house.

 

At work, though, I've been tempted to get out the shovel this week. We've been witnessing a curious phenomenon in our showrooms. Suddenly, people are trying to pawn off on us the stuff they've unearthed this spring from their cellars, attics or, in some cases it seems, their snow banks.

 

We're talking faded pastel art prints from the 1970s, smelly rugs, and a couple of upholstered chairs that look like they'd served as cat scratching posts for a couple of decades. We had about ten cars show up yesterday full with crapola. Thanks for thinking of us, but no.

 

Boston is finally emerging from hibernation after a brutally harsh winter. And it isn't a pretty sight out there. So if you're looking for a place to unload the flotsam and jetsam at your home, make a beeline - for the dump. We only take the best of the best at FCG.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Boston's Finest Pre-Owned Contemporary Furniture

 

 

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Every morning, we go through a full loaf of cinnamon bread at our house for breakfast. I dunk slice after slice into the toaster, then butter them up for our three boys. That's our morning ritual.

 

Cade, my oldest, was hovering over my shoulder this morning making a claim on the next hot slice. At 15, he is growing faster than kudzu. As I handed over the toast, I took a step back and suddenly realized we'd crossed a milestone. Cade is now taller than me.

 

What struck me is that he'd grown right before my eyes but the change hadn't registered. I'm always busy juggling the day-to-day responsibilities of fatherhood and running a small business. But over time small changes every day really add up.

 

Later, at work, I realized something similar had happened at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Our Chestnut Hill store has evolved over the past few months to become the pre-eminent showroom for pre-owned contemporary furniture in or around Boston. How did that happen?

 

Consider the evidence. This week, we accepted for consignment two bold and curvaceous sofas by Rolf Benz, along with a glass coffee table and a sofa table. New, the set cost more than $13,000. Germany's Rolf Benz is a revered name in contemporary design, known for its quality craftsmanship and comfort. At FCG, the sofas are each priced at $999. Our consignor also brought us a set of sleek blue dining chairs also by Rolf Benz. New, each chair is $1,800. We're selling the set of four for $1,600.

 

 

Also in Chestnut Hill is a Ted Boerner sofa and armchair in white leather, originally purchased from the high-end contemporary store Design Within Reach. This week, the showroom is filled with the most sought-after designer names in contemporary furniture, including Hans Wegner and Roche Bobois.

 

Upscale contemporary furniture is extraordinarily expensive when bought new. The top manufacturers use genuine chrome, quality metals, lucites and premium grade leathers. But like the pre-owned market for traditional furniture, the discounts and deals are amazing when you buy at FCG. We don't waste your time with knock-offs and no-name brands. In Chestnut Hill, we've specialized in selecting the best in contemporary design.  

 

So we've grown at FCG, and we want to call your attention to the changes. Stop by the store on Route 9, westbound, in Newton. You'll find a breathtaking array of the highest quality contemporary furniture at amazing prices.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Moments to Memories

 

 

9T4pdzbTEMy grandmother's home smelled like fresh garlic roasting in olive oil. And she always had a pot of water bubbling on the stove ready to cook her homemade macaroni when we arrived for a feast. Never had I been so excited for one of her meals than in the spring of 2001. My son Cade was a toddler and he was just beginning to eat all kinds of new foods. In my family, Grandma's Italian cooking was a rite of passage, a kind of baptism by ground beef. Her homemade meatballs, the stuff of culinary legend, were on the menu that Easter Sunday. When I close my eyes, I can still see the vast spread of food on the table. There were two big bowls, each filled with homemade pasta and meat sauce. At one end of the table was a platter of eggplant Parmesan. At the other was a platter of braised lamb in a rich gravy. We whipped through grace and dug in with glee. Forks screeched against spoons as we wound big wads of spaghetti laden with sauce. So engrossed were we in our pasta paradise that no one was watching Cade - until he gurgled up a big, satisfied burp. We all turned towards the old wooden highchair in unison. There he sat with red sauce smeared across his face. Both of his hands were full of mashed meatball. He was rocking back and forth in excitement, eyes wide, stuffing his mouth as fast as he could with meatball. We all roared with laughter. img 4862Then, in the blink of an eye, that moment was gone. Cade is 15 now. Grandma has been gone for years. We miss her a lot. Her meatballs are still legendary. How quickly moments turn to memories. When my grandparents were first married, they counted their pennies carefully like most immigrants. Buying a big mahogany dining room set might have felt like irresponsible spending to a young couple. But four generations of family celebrated every holiday at that table. I'd argue that it was the best investment they ever made. Easter is April 5th, just two weeks away. Passover begins on Friday, April 3. So buy that big dining room set and make some family memories. You'll never regret it.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

The Coconut Option

 

 

coconut clipart Coconut"Do I look like a Wellesley housewife to you?" he said with mild irritation.

 

Well, I thought, no. He looked like an overworked handy-man. He was wearing jeans, a ratty sweater, an unlaced pair of L.L. Bean boots and a cap advertising Miller High Life, a lowbrow swill.

 

But here we were standing in front of a stately mansion in that swanky town. I was firing questions at him about the high-quality furniture he was consigning, including a Baker Colonial Williamsburg dining room set, a Councill Craftsman server, a secretary by EJ Victor. And he was getting exasperated. "I don't know anything about furniture," he said.

 

Some customers are a "riddle wrapped in a mystery," to quote from Winston Churchill. There had to be a story here. There was.

 

After a wildly successful decade on Wall Street in the 1980s, he retired at the age of 36. The suburban life with wife and kids had no appeal for him. His stock options gave him the opportunity to exercise what he called "the coconut option."

 

He made a life for himself alone in the Florida Keys, sailing, fishing and toasting the sunset with a beer from his front porch. For company, he had a dog.

 

"I get them from the pound when they only have a year or two left of life in them," he said. "Then, I spoil the hell out of them." He tossed a tennis ball across the lawn. The old mutt leaped up j961oyfully and took off like an Olympic sprinter.

 

I had to ask. "How does a single guy who couldn't care less about furniture end up with a big house filled with the best of it?"

 

Turns out, his dad worked for the phone company. His mom was a housewife. With six kids, they had enough for the essentials - but no luxuries. When he made his fortune, he bought them a big house, then took his mom furniture shopping. "That was fun," he said. 

 

Now, twenty-five years later, his parents are moving into an assisted-living facility. The house has to go. Ditto the furniture. He wasn't taking so much as a lamp back to the Keys. He likes the simple life. "You gotta know what makes you happy, man," he said.

 

Come to FCG in Chestnut Hill and check out his furniture. You might find just the piece to make your mom happy. Or your wife. Or your sister. Or maybe even yourself. Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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